How do Contactless payments work?

Product Information 21 February 2017

Over the past few years, Contactless payment technology has revolutionised the retail experience. It’s now the quickest, easiest way to pay, with recent research showing that over half of all consumers now own a Contactless card.

The use of Contactless technology has taken off in the UK — with around 92.1m Contactless cards now in issue. This is more than one card for every man, woman and child in the country! This number is of course split between debit and credit cards but is steadily increasing, with over 240m Contactless payments now made in a month.

So how does Contactless technology work exactly, and how can tapping into Contactless help you as a business?

How does Contactless work?

Contactless debit or credit cards allow consumers to make purchases of up to £30 quickly and securely without having to enter a PIN. Each card contains a tiny chip that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) technology. When held a few centimetres from a card machine, the chip sends data which begins the processing of a transaction.

The technology used is a lot like that of the Oyster card on the Transport for London system. Card payments up to a value of £30 are taken from a bank account almost instantly and consumers can make up to five transactions quickly and easily before they have to enter a PIN. This is for security reasons, so if a Contactless card is stolen it can’t be used to run up large bills.

How can Contactless help my business?

Contactless is quick, easy and stress-free — meaning you’ll be able to serve your customers faster than ever. The £30 transaction limit is currently being reviewed and may be changed — meaning customers will be able to make more expensive (and potentially impulsive) transactions with one simple tap.

Accepting Contactless payments could even future-proof your business, with a whole new range of Contactless products and gadgets on the horizon from e-wallets to smartwatches which will give your customers a whole host of new ways to pay.

So with Contactless becoming more and more common, it’s time to embrace it — it could be the difference between securing or losing a sale. And why wait to cash in on the latest payment trend when here at Paymentsense, we can have you ready to accept Contactless payments in no time? Our card machines come with Contactless as standard, letting you accept Contactless card payments both in-store and on the move.

How do I get Contactless?

If you’re looking to accept Contactless payments, there seems to be very little in the way of arguments against the technology.

The speed and ease of these transactions for the customer is a considerable factor and with the eDigitalResearch report showing 57 per cent of consumers expecting to make a Contactless payment within the next 12 months, it may well be a question of whether businesses can afford to hold off on embracing the technology.

How much does it cost to accept Contactless?

Many card machines now come with Contactless as standard, so you won’t be charged extra. The running costs related to Contactless payments are lower than traditional chip and PIN, making this perfect for low-value transactions. As these are also much quicker to process, terminals can also be set to refrain from printing receipts unless the customer specifically requests one – potentially leading to further cost savings in terms of till roll expenses.

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